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Posted by cactus | Sep 05, 2013 @ 10:38 PM | 2,323 Views
Some time back I sold my FLIP FPV 450 size quadcopter out of frustration over LRS issues. Now that I have several solid options back on the table I wanted to build a basic, inexpensive sport FPV quad that I won't have much hesitation to throw it around and have some fun. No GPS, No complicated setups, just fly low and fast within 1 mile. A fellow flyer was selling a Frankenquad FPV frame along with 4 SimonK flashed ESC's for next to nothing, so I picked it up a few weeks ago. this thread will catalog my journey getting this thing into the air.
Posted by cactus | Apr 16, 2013 @ 09:31 AM | 4,037 Views
I was inspired by those of you who have made an FPV platform out of your mQX so I wanted to try my own version for around the house and yard. My goals where:
1. Minimal net gain in weight so it fly's like stock
2. Descent object penetration and indoor performance
3. Good quality video
4. Utilize my existing 1280 MHz ground station

To achieve the first goal I had to kind of go outside the box a bit. While I carefully weighed the frame, lipo and canopy I noticed the canopy weighed nearly 6 grams. I knew ditching this was a good place to start. I built a lightweight frame to mount the FPV gear out of balsa wood and this added about 1 gram to the bare frame weight. The components I picked to use where:
- V9 Sub-micro Color Camera 3g 520 lines NTSC 5v
- RC-CAM 50mw 1280 Tx
- Pololu 5V Step-Up/Step-Down Voltage Regulator S7V7F5
- Parkzone Vapor 1S 70mah Lipo

I wired these up and removed most of the extra wire and bulky connectors and put it on my scale and it weighed just over 9 grams. Tested video and adjusted the camera focus as best I could, then mounted it on the mQx custom balsa mount.

Stock weight: 78 grams.
FPV configuration: 82.7 grams.

I did a test flight outputting the video to an old TV, then did some hovering with the goggles on and it fly great. I did not notice the extra 4 grams, same performance and duration as before. What a blast! I will record some video the next time I fly it and test my range in the front yard, but so far I feel I meet all my goals!
Posted by cactus | Jan 17, 2013 @ 10:02 AM | 3,687 Views
Well, I finally decided to go the er9x (9x) route with my FPV setups. For the past two seasons I have used the modified JR9503 to output PPM from inside the radio to a Dragon Link system. It has worked nicely, but is a bit cumbersome because I have to insert a trainer jack with the power switch off in order to disable the 9503 built in 2.4ghz deck and send the PPM to the Dragon Link. I also use this radio for my BNF models such as the Night Vapor and the Blade 130x so I am constantly taking the DL TX box on and off. With the price on the 9x so reasonable combined with the proven er9x software, it was time to make the move!

I am picking one up from another modeler that purchased it for a project and decided to pass on it. Initially I will just use loose Sanyo Eneloop cells to power it.

Since I plan to move all my FPV setups over to this, I will have to make some changes anyway, so I decided to take this opportunity to get my V1 Dragon Link system upgraded to the latest firmware. So off it went in the mail yesterday. When it gets back I have lots to do.
Posted by cactus | Oct 20, 2012 @ 06:12 PM | 3,290 Views
I'm going to take a break from being on RCG, flying, building for a while. Have had some disappointing and frustrating problems with gear lately and it is taking the fun out of it for me. Time too step away for a few months and come back with fresh interest in the spring.

Take care,

Mike
Posted by cactus | Jul 01, 2012 @ 10:53 PM | 3,904 Views
I started my Reaper XL build today. I started by taking some weights of the kit parts and foam prior to adding glue, covering or other equipment to compare later.

- Foam wing cores and blunt nose section weighed 206 grams
- Elevons weighed 24 grams
- Colorplast wing tips weighed 30 grams
- Everything else from the kit weighed 218 grams

I used a low temp hot glue gun to glue the blunt nose section to the wing halves. I made sure the halves remained flat on the workbench by using some duck tape and a few heavy items around the garage (The bottom of the wing is flat, so that helps). Following the directions, I used a soldering iron to open up the channels for the spars and installed them along with the metal sections and shock cord. My next step is the motor cut-out, but I am waiting for my motor and props to show up in a few days.

At this point in the build the wing weighs 315 grams with spars and metal joiners.
Posted by cactus | May 17, 2012 @ 03:00 PM | 4,496 Views
I recently went through my RC photo archive and it brought back some great memories of projects past and good times. I thought it would be fun to catalog some of them here on my blog since it is not always easy finding content from the early days here on RCG. I hope you enjoy it!
Posted by cactus | May 09, 2012 @ 08:34 PM | 4,198 Views
So I have been thinking about doing this for a while, but finally got the parts to pull it off. I wanted to leave everything functional by itself and still use the cable when I use my tripod based ground station, so I made conversion connections for everything.
I picked up several used Futaba mini square trainer plugs and hacked some old RCA cables to plug into the RC 305 rx the usual way. Nice and compact and both powered off a 2s 1200ma lipo. I am going to make an attachment for the Lawmate 1280 rx and use it the same way but with a 3s lipo and regulator to run the goggles on 7.4v.

Going to test fly with the Slow Stick on 5.8ghz omni antennas this weekend.
Posted by cactus | Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:10 AM | 4,132 Views
I have had a couple of flights on this now, so I feel I am ready to share this project with RCG. I have made some modifications along the way, but so far this is a really fun light wind platform for moderate length flights close in and slow. Great observation platform!

I have many changes from stock form, and well go over what I have done in the coming days. I am testing my wing mods and mixing tomorrow. I added ailerons, clipped the wing and took the dihedral out as well as added a aileron to rudder mix to help it turn better. Will so how that goes....
Posted by cactus | Aug 14, 2011 @ 05:12 PM | 5,178 Views
I would like to share my experience so far with a ground-based FPV project I recently completed. It's a Turnigy 1/16 Buggy from Hobby King with a 900 mhz video system. Have not gone out very far yet, but it works fairly well within a few hundred feet of my driveway. I made a custom plastic deck to mount the FPV gear on without having to modify the buggy in any way so it can still use the stock body for regular RC driving. My ground station is interchangeable with my airborne quad copter. I use Fat Shark goggles for both, but swap out the Rx for the 5.8ghz quad.

Another fun thing I did was wire an old LED head lamp to a spare RC channel on the Rx for lower light conditions. Has red and white light modes. I need to mount it better so it stays facing out in front of the buggy.
Posted by cactus | May 16, 2011 @ 11:05 PM | 12,264 Views
After my successful MultiWiiCopter project I decided to use a similar platform to do some FPV flying with. I like the quad platform for several reasons. It allows me to take off and land vertically for smaller landing zones as well as the ability to fly slowly and close by while I am getting used to FPV flying.

This is not going to be an easy go out and be successful in one day kind of project, but rather a series of smaller projects that build into the bigger goal of flying safely and in control via FPV gear.

I started reading up on FPV last year, following the threads here about what gear people are using, antenna theory and application, radio gear, etc... Lot's of reading and information to absorb, but I felt ready to make baby steps this year at getting up and running.

I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to chime in and offer advise or just ask questions if you like.

Mike
Posted by cactus | Mar 16, 2011 @ 10:26 PM | 8,110 Views
This thread will report the progress on my first quad rotor craft build. Actually, I have never owned one let alone flown one, so this is going to be new all around. At least it flys like a 4-channel helicopter (so they say) so I have that going for me as I have been flying FP and CP helis of various sizes for years.

If you have ever researched setting one of these up you probably discovered what I did; these thing can cost a small fortune. Very few hobby grade ones are available in ARF form. The Gaui 330X is probably the most popular one to start with but has some shortfalls leaving many to spend more on upgrades to get it flying like they want.

Enter the MultiWiiCopter based platform. Designed to use inexpensive off the shelf components and some soldering and assembly you can have a descent multi copter for a fraction of what some go for just the controller and gyros. I decided to go this route to learn the programming behind this as well as the satisfaction of rolling my own and saving money.

So far I have competed the controller board and have it mounted on a frame with patch/rx connected. I am waiting for my ESC's, motors, props and some LED lights to show up.

Here is the setup to date:

- warthox - MultiWiiCopter board - v1.2
- Arduino Pro Mini 328 5v 16Mhz CPU
- Wii Motion Plus Gyro board
- VC-20-450 Quad Frame
- AR6110 Rx
- Connectors and patch cables

Completion Items:
- (4) KDA 20-22l Brushless Motors
- (4) Turnigy Plush 18 Amp ESC's
- LED strands of various colors.
Posted by cactus | Feb 07, 2011 @ 11:39 PM | 1,572 Views
I started the conversion of my stock Swift 16 over to FBL with the Mikado Mini V-bar 5.0 blue unit. So far the head conversion has been very easy. I purchased the FLYBARLESS FOLLOWER For 10mm MAIN SHAFTS and some 3mm long long thread balls for the blade grips and removed all the flybar gear. The result is a nice clean setup!

Mikado talks allot about a rigid setup (head dampners and carbon blades) for best performance and resolution of the system. I going to try the first test hop with the stock dampers and 520mm woodies just to make sure it flys without augering into the deck on lift off. Then I am going with the Delrin dampers and the Edge FBL 523mm carbon blades.

The second thing I noticed is linkage and head geometry. On step 10 and 11 of the setup you set up collective travel and cyclic throw. In the software the useful range is 80-100/110 giving about 12-14 degrees of pitch and 8 degrees on cyclic. Well mine has WAY too much travel for both, so I am left with some decisions to make. Buy another head that has better geometry or try and get this one adjusted so it's close enough to 80 as I can get. I have 15+ at 80 and it bottoms out on the frame with a full cyclic stir. The Mikado page on geometry was vague at best, so I'm going to see if I can get help from the rc heli community.

Here are some shots of the setup.
Posted by cactus | Dec 19, 2010 @ 11:01 PM | 2,338 Views
I've been flying fly-barred CP helis on and off for years, but this will be my first venture into FBL.

So why ditch the flybar? What did it ever do to hurt anyone? First of all I am happy with the way I have the 250 setup with FB weights and toned down DR/Expo, but I am fascinated by the electronic tune-ability of FBL systems. I could reduce the complexity of parts in the head and have stability when I want it, but have that nimble quickness for flips. So my 250 has been on the bench for repairs since Oct, so I decided to convert it as a winter project.

On the ReadyHeli Black Friday sale, I purchased a Mikado Mini vBar 5.0 (blue case) and shortly after the Mikado FBL conversion kit. I also converted the tail servo control rod over to a one-piece carbon rod.

The vBar is under the Christmas tree, so I won't be installing that for about a week, but I did start converting the head. The install is fairly straight forward with the exception of a few things. One is the follower positioning on the shaft and the pins that stick down from the head block. I posted questions on some other threads to get clarification on this. Here are a few shots of the head conversion.

More to come...
Posted by cactus | Mar 02, 2010 @ 02:59 PM | 7,196 Views
I picked up a NIP Swift 16 kit with motor/Esc/pinion combo along with some Hitec digital servos off of a ezoner in late January. I have been building it slowly here and there as I get time.

Current Setup (Apr 2010):

Swift 16 stock kit
Century 600+ brushless motor
CC Ice 100 ESC
9 tooth pinion
CC BEC Pro
Spektrum AR7000
HS 5475HB (3) Cyclic
Futaba 401/9254
Turnegy 5S 5000 20C packs (2)

Highlights:
This thing is easy to work on because everything is not tiny like with micros. So far the build has been positive experience and I have enjoyed it. The kit was missing the tail thrust bearings, but a quick email to Century and they sent me the missing parts for no-charge. I have paid attention to how smoothly everything operates and to fix it if it does not move smoothly.
Posted by cactus | Dec 01, 2009 @ 05:40 PM | 11,315 Views
Well, here I am again getting sucked into the helicopter side of RC. I just can't stay away very long and with the plethora of inexpensive 450 clones and electronics I had to give one a try. Enter the HK450MT.

The HK450MT is an updated version of the HK450 clone of a Trex 450SA that was mostly plastic parts. This new one is mostly metal and looks really nice so far.

My setup will be:
- Turnigy Typhoon 2215H
- TURNIGY Plush 30amp Speed Controller
- HXT900 x3 on Cyclic
- Hobby King 401B AVCS Digital Head Lock Gyro
- Spektrum AR6100 RX
- 3S 2200mah 20C Lipo
- Dx7 Tx

My tail servo is TBD. I have several to try before I settle on one.

Stay tunned as I will get some photos up and some initial thoughts on the progress thus far.
Posted by cactus | Feb 14, 2008 @ 01:27 PM | 8,782 Views
I just purchased the Phoenix RC Flight Simulator so I can log some time during this abnormally snowy winter. I am using the Dynam 4 ch Tx that came with my Dynam Vortex coax helicopter. So far I like it. My first order of business is to work on my plane hovering in all orientations using the Torque Roll Trainer function....
Posted by cactus | Feb 04, 2007 @ 01:00 AM | 8,243 Views
Posted by cactus | Jan 16, 2007 @ 11:31 PM | 8,567 Views
I got her done last week and was waiting for better weather to test fly. Got one in today and she flys! Need some trimming and cg adjustments. Less snow would be better too....
Posted by cactus | Jan 08, 2007 @ 10:54 PM | 8,357 Views
I got the carbon spars in the wing and side stablizers. I'll Solder the hacker esc and the TP pack connectors next. The hacker outrunner fits a little different than the planned motor, but it should go in with some slight modifications. So far this is an easy build.